Vladimir Putin and Pope Francis Alexei Nikolsky/Planet Pix via ZUMA Wire

Putin, Papst und Patriarch

NEW YORK – Seine Jahre als KGB-Offizier haben den russischen Präsidenten Wladimir Putin gelehrt, wie man andere ausnutzt. In Steven Lee Myers’ hervorragender neuer Biographie The New Tsar beschreibt der ehemalige Moskauer Büroleiter der New York Times, wie Putin während seiner Stationierung in der DDR in den letzten Jahren des Kommunismus Schwächen seines Gegners nutzte, um die sowjetische Sache voranzutreiben.

Das heutige historische Treffen auf Kuba zwischen Papst Franziskus und dem Patriarchen der russisch-orthodoxen Kirche, Kirill, ist eine weitere Gelegenheit, bei der Putin seinen Vorteil suchen wird. Es ist das erste Treffen zwischen einem römischen Papst und einem russischen Patriarchen seit dem Großen Schisma von 1054, als theologische Differenzen den Glauben in einen westlichen und einen östlichen Zweig spalteten. Seitdem galt die orthodoxe Kirche (auf Russisch Prawoslawie, was wörtlich so viel heißt wie der „rechte Glaube“) in Russland als einzig wahre Form des Christentums, und andere Glaubensrichtungen wurden wegen ihrer Unterstützung des Individualismus und ihrer unzureichenden Verehrung der menschlichen Seele abgelehnt.

Fast ein Jahrtausend lang schien diese Feindseligkeit unüberwindlich. In moderner Zeit erforderte es die Drohung eines Atomkrieges, um Bemühungen zur Verbesserung der Beziehungen zwischen Ost und West auszulösen – und selbst dann ging die Wiederannäherung in erster Linie von der weltlichen russischen Regierung aus. Im Jahre 1963 schickte der sowjetische Ministerpräsident Nikita Chruschtschow, ein überzeugter Atheist, seinen Schwiegersohn und Berater Alexej Adschubej in eine historische Audienz beim damaligen Papst Johannes XXIII.

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